Webinar: A PID Federation – what it could be and what could it do?

Since January 2020 the FREYA project has been investigating the idea of creating an organisation to help the PID community sustain itself. FREYA commissioned Josh Brown to investigate this idea and consult with the community to find out what aspects of the Federation idea were feasible to be taken forward. Through interviews, questionnaires and focus groups, carried out by Josh, a consultant in this area, the idea was explored and specified further. This webinar will provide a summary of the report’s findings as well as the project’s response to the report and the next steps it will take. The report is available here.

Who should attend this webinar? Anyone interested in the future of PIDs and how they work. There will be an opportunity for attendees to respond to the report and ask presenters any questions.

  • Defining the PID Federation – Josh Brown
  • What next? FREYA’s position on the Federation – Simon Lambert
  • Q&A and Discussion

The webinar is taking place on Wednesday October 14th at 15:00 CEST. Register here: https://www.project-freya.eu/en/events/webinar-a-pid-federation-2013-what-it-could-be-and-what-could-it-do

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This sounds very interesting! Where and when can I register for the webinar?

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Hi @maddenfc, @torsten.reimer, @joshb,

I am not sure whether this is a good place to start the discussion or whether we should split this off to another topic. Also, please note that I come from the German culture of criticizing quite directly, please forgive me if that does not resonate well with your usual way of giving feedback…

I read the report with great interest (because, hey, who wouldn’t be interested in “federation”?). I actually couldn’t make any sense of it: when you speak of “federation of PIDs”, what do you refer to exactly? I do understand that e.g. DataCite and Crossref are centralized instances, who hold data about permanent identifiers (? = PIDs?), i.e. DOIs, and link the recorded (meta)data to other identifiers, e.g. ORCIDs, lately.

I am sure that you are familiar with the Linked Data principles; because DataCite and Crossref are going into that direction when using ORCIDs to identify researchers.

In that sense, there is no need of federation of PIDs – they are already federated: the ORCID organization is caring for the ORCIDs, Crossref is caring about the DOIs. Now we started to link across those organizations. That is already federation.

Asking very directly: would you like to federate the task of Crossref, i.e. that the task of providing authoritative information about a specific DOI (who is the author of the document identified by the DOI? etc) is a shared responsibility between multiple institutions? If I wanted, I could right now set up a Crossref-schema-compatible service that would provide false information about DOIs – it is just that noone would care, because my information is not considered authoritative.

Could you help me in elucidating what you mean with federation? I also read https://www.project-freya.eu/en/blogs/blogs/an-intergalactic-federation-of-pid-providers , but that didn’t help me.

An interpretation of a colleague of mine was that you want to expand into more things to identify persistently, e.g. the instance of a scientific instrument used in a lab?

Would be great if you can help me to get on track here.


Hi @rgiessmann,

Thanks for your questions. The consensus among the research respondents was that more community coordination was needed. I note in the report that the term ‘federation’ is perhaps not the right term for what is being proposed. :slight_smile:

What has been suggested is a global initiative to improve coordination and collaboration between PID services. There are successful PID systems (you mention several in your post) and the goal is not to ‘federate’ their work, or merge organisations, but to help them all to work together better, to advocate for consistent use of PIDs, and to increase the efficiency and effectiveness of the whole PID system.

When I talk about ‘coverage’ in the report, I refer to more people having access to PID services, rather than PID services for more things. If a new PID comes up, it would be great if there was a global community organisation, and a good set of standards to help them grow and to interoperate with other existing PID services.

I hope this clarifies things. I hope you can join us for the webinar on October 14th.


Hi @joshb,

thanks for your quick response and getting me a clear view here.

Yes, community consensus / coordination sounds great. In principle that sounds to me like sharing the blueprint for the current process, which would mean: using handle.net and json schemas, plus providing good-performing APIs?

You say that with “coverage” it would more people having access to PID services – I fear I haven’t quite got that point yet. Do you mean by this e.g. “99% of researchers have an ORCID”, “99% of papers have a DOI”? Or another kind of access?

From what I observed, the success of the current PID organizations comes also from generating revenue by having publishers/journals as customers. I am wondering how far that can scale or is generally applicable, because right now it’s also a somewhat mono-/oligopoly situation.

But, after all, agreed that it sounds nice to have coordination and collaboration. FREYA will share its response / opinion only on that webinar, right?

Looking forward to meeting you,

Hi @rgiessmann,

You raise some interesting questions and suggestions! Using specific technologies (Handle, JSON etc.) was not discussed by respondents to my research for the most part (only one respondent was keen to see handle.net be used as an equivalent of DNS for PIDs) so this is a conversation that will need to be had in the future. It’s not a step that my research so far would justify.

In terms of coverage and access, I would suggest that an ideal situation would be ‘100% of research information producers (authors, publishers, repositories, funders etc.) have affordable and accessible choices of PIDs for their works’. From there, I think almost everyone would then choose to use them and we could get to ‘99% or researchers have an ID’. That would probably be an ORCID, but I am agnostic!

Note that for example ~80% of ORCID’s members are research institutions (universities or similar) so it is not a publisher-led mono-/oligopoly. The situation really is much more variable across the various PID providers.

Finally, I’ll leave it to @maddenfc to share how the FREYA team will be responding, but it will be more than the webinar, for sure.


Hi - there’s lots of interesting topics to discuss in the report. Working at Crossref I wanted to pick up on your comment about “mono-/oligopoly situation”. 90% of Crossref’s revenue come from our 12,000+ members - a majority are journal publishers - but “members” now includes funders who are registering grants and many universities and NGOs that publish content. But they aren’t just customers, they are members, which means that they vote to elect the board, which is made up of members. So those registering content govern the system they use. ORCID and DataCite have different memberships from Crossref. So there is centralization with these organizations but they are non-profit and community-led with a lot of different organizations involved.


Thanks for all these comments. I hope we can discuss and hear more during the webinar next week.

Just to clarify, this webinar will be recorded and shared on the FREYA YouTube channel. If you cannot attend but would like to be alerted when the recording if available, please register for the webinar and you will be included on the circulation list.

Thanks to everyone who attended the webinar yesterday. If anyone is interested in watching the recording, it is now available to view on Youtube (https://youtu.be/xzTSvQbvy2I).
The slides and recording can be downloaded from Zenodo (https://doi.org/10.5281/zenodo.4088526).

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